Hutchesons'Hall, in Ingram Street, was constructed, asHutchesons'Hospital, between 1802 and 1805 to a design by the Scottish architect David Hamilton. This building was to replace an earlier hospital of 1641, in the Trongate.
Funded with money left in trust by George and Thomas Hutcheson, lawyers and land-owning brothers who thrived in Glasgow in the 1600s, the hospital was to serve as a haven for poor craftsmen and “the decrepit old men of Glasgow,” and as school for the city’s orphans. Since then, it has also served as a library, and a bank.
Look up the next time you pass the Ingram Street landmark and you'll see statues of the Hutcheson brothers, carved in 1649 by James Colquhoun and the oldest portrait statues in Glasgow, perched in matching alcoves. At one time, the statues were painted, with the brothers’ fancy clothes picked out in rich reds, blues, and gold.
Needless to say, this being Glasgow, there’s something amiss about the statues.
After being removed from their Trongate home, the statues were put in storage. And, when they were eventually moved to Ingram Street, the brothers were placed on the wrong plinths, meaning George stands on a plinth marked ‘Thomas’, and vice versa.
That’s not the only mistake. There is also an error on George Hutcheson’s inscription; it originally claimed he had died in 1693, and not 1639. Look closely and you’ll see that someone (it wisnae me!) has twisted round the ‘9’ to change the date of death to the earlier 1663, only 30 years out instead of 66.
The Hutcheson brothers also founded the Glasgow school which still bears their name.
In 1876, the architect John Baird was commissioned to refurbish the hall. This work heightened the structure, created a double height first floor room, and added a feature staircase.
Although todayHutchesons'Hall is painted a creamy-white, back in 1938 it was soot-blackened and slightly sinister looking.
Look closely at the picture, bottom left, and you'll spy a horse entering the scene. Probably making a delivery to the nearby Fruit Market.
After serving as a National Trust office and shop, after 2008 the building fell into disrepair and lay empty. Thankfully, in June 2014, city restaurateur James Rusk gave the building a £1.4m makeover to turn it into the classy Hutchesons’ Bar and Brasserie.
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